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  • Loralyn Mears, PhD

Monday Motivation: Boost Your Immunity

This article was originally published on January 20, 2020 at

Monday Motivation here we come! We see you – coffee cup in hand, trudging through the dark (but it’s getting lighter earlier!) cursing your commute. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! If you’re more of a podcast person versus someone who reads, have a listen at our Monday Matters content on Spotify. Check out our Grit Daily podcast channel. If you lament this day of the week, you may need our Monday Motivation quick tips. Studies show that your morning mood affects your productivity all day. Grit Daily is here to get your work week off to a good start. Pump your fists – it’s time for Monday Motivation!

Getting sicky with it

First, my confession. Don’t worry, it’s not going to be anything sordid: I’ve been too sick for too long to get into any trouble! I’m all about transparency and practicing what I preach.

That said, I really blew it this time. One of my goals for 2020 is to get into tip-top shape and to do all the things that I do randomly towards that goal with a disciplined regularlity. In English? I want to get into a new routine and not be hap-hazard about my health with a workout here and an awesome, multi-color superfood meal there and so on. I’m seeking to take all efforts towards my personal health mainstream.

The problem is that I got sick ten days ago and have pretty much been under a blanket since then. Not exactly the best way to get started. But, it did inform today’s Monday motivation topic.

Avoid getting sick

Duh! Was that a Homer Simpson moment for you, too?

Getting sick as a definition can go well beyond sniffles and coughs. Mental health is a factor that also needs to be considered here. Considering bad habits beyond the obvious drugs and alcohol, with behaviors like over-spending and rapidly rotating through sexual partners can also add stress and lead to illness through deep feelings of depression, regret and anxiety. Plus, this is a particularly tough time of year for people to manage given the aftermath of the holidays, poor climate conditions and a likelihood of being affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Scientists who support the “hygiene hypothesis” believe that we’re more vulnerable to allergies and infection now than in the past given our obsession with anti-bacterial wipes and agents. Late last year, the CDC issued a report which highlighted how great the risks are: in the USA, 2.4 million antibiotic resistant infections are registered each year along with 44,000 resulting deaths. C. difficile is a notoriously bad bug often spread through hospitals and resistant strains are proliferating quickly.

Practically translated into simple, Monday motivation terms, it means that kids don’t eat dirt anymore or share their bottled drinks with other kids. Playing with the same toys as our snotty-nosed classmates afforded us with exposure to germs which kicked our immune systems into high gear.

Tips to boost your immunity

You can read countless scores of blogs and self-help books on the topic of naturally-boosted immunity, follow 99% of the advice and still get sick. We now live in the era of “superbugs” and even a 99% best-effort may not be enough to thwart the onset of illness. Realistically, it’s just about impossible (at least for me) to avoid public transportation (subway, trains and buses to/from NYC). There is not enough Purell in the world to purge all those germs!

The Monday motivation advice to avoid “high risk” areas like hospitals, elementary schools, sporting events and so on sounds reasonable, but how do you actually do that if you’re trying to live your life and those are a natural part of your routine? And, of course, everyone knows that you should exercise regularly, avoid tobacco, get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, eat lots of colorful fruits and veggies but consume “bad” foods in moderation. Sure, a bit of wine or a martini once in a while is fine. So is chocolate cake and pizza, but you can’t make these items everyday staples.

With all this to consider, what do you do? You work on boosting your immunity by following these tips which may not be a regular part of your routine.

#1 – increase your Vitamin D levels

Over-the-counter vitamins are the easiest way to boost your Vitamin D levels, but what’s the fun in taking a pill? Get outside! Absorb sun rays. Apparently, 50% of the world doesn’t get enough sun exposure and more than 40% of people in the US have sub-optimal levels of Vitamin D. If you want to ingest your Vitamin D the natural way, salmon, canned tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms and other foods listed here can help. Garlic is another terrific source. Given the amount of garlic that we eat in our house, I’m not sure how any of us can’t get enough Vitamin D but I do know that we’re safe from vampires. 😉

#2 – moisten your mucus membranes

Now you’re probably thinking, what the what … ? Has the author of Monday motivation lost it? Maybe I have: maybe it’s the cold meds. Or maybe there’s scientific evidence that shows how dry nasal passages can harbor germs and lead to sickness. When our nasal passages are wet and flowing, germs are carried along for a ride and ushered out of our bodies. In contrast, when our membranes are dry, they can’t move the germs and make it just a bit too comfortable and easy for the germs to take up residence. And then poof – we’re sick. Consider a personal humidifier like this one for only $22 on Amazon. Mix in menthol or peppermint to stimulate your senses and help further boost your immunity.

#3 – spice things up

Turmeric and ginger are reportedly powerful spices that can have a tremendous impact on your immunity. Adding green or matcha tea to your diet is another option. But, bear in mind that you will need to consume fairly heavy quantities in order to see any effect as the amount of benefit in a single tea bag is quite limited.

With that, Monday motivation signing off here. Cough cough. But now we all know how to boost our immunity levels so I expect all of our readers to have a happy, healthy 2020 and I also plan to stay healthy to keep writing!

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay






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